NASA Twins Study Offers New Insight on How a Human’s Body Responds to Spaceflight

(gentle upbeat music) – I’m Susan Bailey. I’m a professor at CSU in the department of Environmental and
Radiological Health Sciences Our work on the NASA Twins Study was looking at telomere length and seeing how the
stresses of space flight might influence telomere length and what kind of
implications that might have because of all the special
and unique stresses they’re under during space flight. We were so surprised by what we found because we certainly went into the study hypothesizing that all of the stresses that the astronauts are under would contribute to
accelerated telomere loss. So could contribute to
accelerated aging in the long run or even short term could
contribute to some diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer. And we couldn’t have been
more wrong about that. We saw a very space flight
specific telomere elongation. So telomeres were actually longer during space flight. And very quickly, upon
arriving at the space station, we saw longer telomeres and they stayed longer
throughout the one year mission. And then upon return to earth
they shortened very rapidly. If we can figure out
something that is helping to maintain telomere length that could help all of us on earth. That would be the hope
that it would benefit, not only astronauts, but also those of us, you
know, mere earthlings. (gentle upbeat music)

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